Grolier Club.

The Scriptores historiae augustae with an English translation (Volume 3) online

. (page 26 of 42)
Online LibraryGrolier ClubThe Scriptores historiae augustae with an English translation (Volume 3) → online text (page 26 of 42)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Sacceptos magis timentes domum remisit. fertur
etiam epistula illius repudiatis donis, quae rex mi-
serat, ad Narseum talis iuisse : " Miror te de omnibus
quae nostra futura sunt tarn pauca misisse. habeto
interim omnia ilia quibus gaudes. quae si nos habere
cupiamus, scimus quemadmodum possidere debeamus."

6 his acceptis litteris Narseus maxime territus, et eo
praecipue quod Copten et Ptolemaidem comperit
a Blemmyis, qui eas teuuerant, vindicatas caesosque
ad internecionem eos qui gentibus fuerant ante terrori.

XVIII. Facta igitur pace cum Persis ad Thracias
rediit et centum milia Bastarnarum in solo Romano

1 For a similar policy, see Alex., Iviii. 4.

2 From Nubia ; see note to Anr., xxxiii. 4. Undaunted by the
defeat administered under Auielian they had broken foith again
and had overrun all Upper Egypt. According to Zosimus, i.
71,1, they were now defeated by Probus' generals ; because of this
statement it has been questioned whether Probus himself was
in Egypt at all.

3 i.e., the Persians, against whom the present eastern expedi-
tion was directed in resumption of the war which had been cut
short by the murder of Aurelian ; see Aur., xxxv. 4-5.



to the army * at the age of eighteen, in order that they
never might learn to be brigands.

XVII. Having finally established peace in all parts
of Pamphylia and the other provinces adjacent to
Isauria, he turned his course to the East. He also
subdued the Blemmyae, 2 and the captives taken from
them he sent back to Rome and thereby created a
wondrous impression upon the amazed Roman people.
Besides this, he rescued from servitude to the bar-
barians the cities of Coptos and Ptolemais and restored
them to Roman laws. By this he achieved such fame
that the Parthians 3 sent envoys to him, confessing
their fear and suing for peace, but these he received
with much arrogance and then sent back to their
homes in greater fear than before. The letter, more-
over, which he wrote to Narseus, 4 rejecting the gifts
which the king had sent, is said to have been as
follows : "I marvel that you have sent us so few of
the riches all of which will shortly be ours. For the
time being, keep all those things in which you take
such pleasure. If ever we wish to have them, we
know how we ought to get them." On the receipt of
this letter Narseus was greatly frightened, the more
so because he had learned that Coptos and Ptolemais
had been set free from the Blemmyae, who had previ-
ously held them, and that they, who had once been
the terror of nations, had been put to the sword.

XVIII. Having made peace, then, with the Persians, 5
he returned to Thrace, and here he settled one hundred

4 Clearly a fabrication, for Narses was king of the Persians in
293-302 ; the king at this time was Bahrain II.

5 It is probable that he was ready to patch up a peace because
of the revolts of the pretenders in the West; see 5. He
evidently regarded it as a temporary measure, for in 282 he set
forth on another war ; see c. xx. 1.



2constituit, qui omnes fidem servartmt sed cum et ex
aliis gentibus plerosque pariter transtulisset, id est ex
Gepedis, Greuthungis et Vandalis, illi omnes fidem
fregeruiit et occupato bellis tyrannicis Probo per
totum paene orbem pedibus et navigando vagati sunt
nee parum molestiae Romanae gloriae intulerunt.

3quos quidem ille diversis vicibus variisque victoriis
oppressit, paucis domum cum gloria redeuntibus, quod
Probi evasissent manus. haec Probus cum barbaris

4 Sed habuit etiam non leves tyrannicos motus. iiam
et Saturninum, qui orientis imperium arripuerat, variis
proeliorum generibus et nota virtute superavit. quo
victo tanta in oriente quies fuit, ut, quemadmodum
vulgo loquebantur, mures rebelles nullus audiret.

Sdeinde cum Proculus et Bonosus apud Agrippinam
in Gallia imperium arripuissent omnesque sibi iam
Britannias, Hispanias et bracatae Galliae provincias
vindicarent, barbaris semet iuvantibus vicit.

6 Ac ne requiras plura vel de Saturnino vel de
Proculo vel de Bonoso, suo eosdem inseram libro,

1 North of the mouth of the Danube. Like the Getae, they
may have been driven southward by the pressure of the Goths,
and now they were admitted to Roman territory.

2 Both Gothic tribes ; see Claud., vi. 2 and note. Nothing is
known of any of these settlers, but Zosimus (i. 71, 2) tells of a
colony of Franks settled by Probus near the mouth of the
Danube, who, as soon as the Emperor had left the region, built
ships and, after plundering the coasts of Greece, Sicily and
northern Africa, sailed off to their home, near the mouth of the
Rhine. The biographer may have generalised this incident.

3 See Firm., vii.-xi. * See Firm., xii.-xiii.
5 See Firm., xiv-xv,



thousand Bastarnae 1 on Roman soil, all of whom re-
mained loyal. But when he had likewise brought over
many from other tribes, that is, Gepedes, Greuthungi 2
and Vandals, they all broke faith, and when Probus
was busied with wars against the pretenders they
roved over well nigh the entire world on foot or in
ships and did no little damage to the glory of Rome.
He crushed them, however, at divers times and by
various victories, and only a few returned to their
homes, enjoying glory because they had made their
escape from the hands of Probus. Such were Probus'
exploits among the barbarians.

He also had to cope with revolts of pretenders, and
they were serious indeed. For Saturninus, 3 who had
seized the rule of the East, he overcame only by
battles of various kinds and by his well-known valour.
But when Saturninus was crushed, such quiet prevailed
in the East that, as the common saying is, not even
a rebel mouse was heard. Then Proculus 4 and
Bonosus 5 seized the rule at Agrippina in Gaul, and
proceeded to claim all of Britain 6 and Spain and the
provinces, also, of Farther Gaul, 7 but these men he
defeated with the aid of barbarians.

But in order that you may not ask for more informa-
tion now about either Saturninus, or Proculus, or

6 The revolt in Britain had no connection with the rising
either of Proculus or of Bonosus, but was the act of the governor
stationed there. It was quelled by Victorinus, who treacherously
killed the revolting governor ; see Zonaras, xii. 29.

7 Literally " trousered," a term derived from bracae
("breeches"), the native costume of the northern barbarians;
see note to Alex., xl. 11. The name Gall a Bracata was often
used to designate the three provinces of Farther Gaul, viz. Gallia
Lugdunensis, Gallia Belgica, and Aquitania, as contrasted with
Gallia Togata, i.e. t Gallia Narbonensis.



pauca de iisdem, ut l decet, immo ut poscit necessitas,

7 locuturus. unum sane sciendum est, quod German!

omnes, cum ad auxilium essent rogati a Proculo, Probo

servire maluerunt quam cum Bonoso et Proculo im-

Sperare. 2 Gallis omnibus et Hispanis ac Britannis

hinc permisit, ut vites haberent vinumque conficerent.

ipse Almam montem in Illyrico circa Sirmium militari

manu fossum lecta vite conseruit.

XIX. Dedit Romanis etiam voluptates, et quideir

2insignes, delatis etiam congiariis. triumphavit de

Germanis et Blemmyis, omnium gentium drungos

usque ad quinquagenos homines ante triumphum

duxit. venationem in Circo amplissimam dedit, ita ut

3 populus cuncta diriperet. genus autem spectaculi fuit
tale : arbores validae per milites radicitus vulsae con-
exis late longeque trabibus adfixae sunt, terra deinde
superiecta totusque Circus ad silvae consitus speciem

4 gratia novi viroris effronduit. missi deinde per omnes

1 ut om. in P. 2 imperare ins. by Peter ; om. in P.

J This measure is mentioned also by Aur. Victor, Caes., 37, 2
and Eutropius, ix. 17, 2. It does not imply that there had been
a general prohibition, but meant the rescinding of an order of
Domitian (Suetonius, Dow., vii. 2), which attempted to provide,
both for the increase in the production of grain and for the pro-
tection of Italian vine-growers, that no new vineyards should be
planted in Italy and that half of those in the provinces should
be cut down. This order seems never to have been enforced in
Asia Minor or southern Gaul or Spain, and even in the Danube
provinces vines were planted before the time of Probus. An
attempt had been made by Aurelian to promote viticulture in
Italy (see Aur., xlviii. 2), but apparently without much success,
and the attempt was now extended to the northern provinces,
with the result that the prosperity of Gaul, at least, was revived ;



Bonosus, I will put them all in a special book, relating
a little concerning them, as seems fitting, or rather,
as need demands. One fact, indeed, must be known,
namely, that all the Germans, when Proculus asked
for their aid, preferred to serve Probus rather than
rule with Bonosus and Proculus. Hence he granted
permission to all the Gauls and the Spaniards and
Britons to cultivate vineyards and make wines, 1 and
he himself planted chosen vines on Mount Alma 2 near
Sirmium in Illyricum, after having had the ground dug
up by the hands of the soldiers.

XIX. He also gave the Romans their pleasures,
and noted ones, too, and he bestowed largesses also.
He celebrated a triumph 3 over the Germans and the
Blemmyae, and caused companies from all nations,
each of them containing up to fifty men, to be led
before his triumphal procession. He gave in the
Circus a most magnificent wild-beast hunt, at which
all things were to be the spoils of the people. Now
the manner of this spectacle was as follows : great
trees, torn up with the roots by the soldiers, were set
up on a platform of beams of wide extent, on which
earth was then thrown, and in this way the whole
Circus, planted to look like a forest, seemed, thanks to
this new verdure, to be putting forth leaves. Then
through all the entrances were brought in one thousand

see Rostovtzeff, Soc. and Econ. Hist, of tJie Rom. Empire, pp.
189, 545, 621.

2 Probably the Fruska-Gora range, north of Mitrovitz, still
rich in vineyards.

3 In 2S1, according to the coins of his fourth consulship, on
which he is represented in a quadriga and crowned by a Victory
(Cohen, vi. 2 , p. 300, no. 465) or similarly on a six-horse chariot
with the legend Gloria Orbis (ibid., p. 279, no. 269).



aditus struthioiies mille, mille cervi, mille apri ; iam
damae, ibices, oves ferae et cetera herbatica animal ia
quanta vel ali potuerunt vel inveniri. inmissi deinde

Spopulares, rapuit quisque quod voluit. edidit alia die
in Amphitheatre una missione centum iubatos leoiies,

6qui rugitibus suis tonitrus excitabant. qui omnes e 1
posticis interempti suiit, non magnum praebentes
spectaculum, quo occidebantur. neque enim erat
bestiarum impetus ille qui esse e caveis egredientibus
solet ; occisi suiit praeterea multi, qui dirigere nole-

7 bant, sagittis. editi deinde centum leopardi Libyci,
centum deinde Syri ; editae centum leaenae et ursi
simul trecenti ; quarum omnium ferarum magnum
magis constat spectaculum fuisse quam gratum.

8 edita praeterea gladiatorum paria trecenta Blemmyis
plerisque pugnantibus, qui per triumphum eraiit
ducti, plerisque Germanis et Sarmatis, nonnullis
etiam latronibus Isauris.

XX. Quibus peractis bellum Persicum parans, cum
per Illyricum iter faceret, a militibus suis per insidias

2 interemptus est. causae occidendi eius haec fuerunt :
primum quod numquam militem otiosum esse per-
pessus est, si quidem multa opera militari manu per-
fecit, dicens annonam gratuitam militem comedere

311011 debere. his addidit dictum eis grave, si umquam
eveniat, salutare rei publicae, brevi milites iiecessarios

4 non futures, quid ille conceperat animo qui hoc

1 e ins. by Salm., who explains posticis ; om. in P.

1 315 had been presented by Pompey and 400 by Julius
Caesar ; see Pliny, Nat. Hist., viii. 53.



ostriches, one thousand stags and one thousand wild-
boars, then deer, ibexes, wild sheep, and other grass-
eating beasts, as many as could be reared or captured.
The populace was then let in, and each man seized
what he wished. Another day he brought out in the
Amphitheatre at a single performance one hundred
maned lions/ which woke the thunder with their roar-
ing. All of these were slaughtered as they came out of
the doors of their dens, and being killed in this way
they afforded no great spectacle. For there was none
of that rush on the part of the beasts which takes place
when they are let loose from cages. Besides, many, un-
willing to charge, were despatched with arrows. Then
he brought out one hundred leopards from Libya, then
one hundred from Syria, then one hundred lionesses
and at the same time three hundred bears ; all of
which beasts, it is clear, made a spectacle more vast
than enjoyable. He presented, besides, three hundred
pairs of gladiators, among whom fought many of the
Blemmyae, who had been led in his triumph, besides
many Germans and Sarmatians also and even some
Isaurian brigands.

XX. These spectacles finished, he made ready for
war with Persia, 2 but while on the march through
Iliyricum ha was treacherously killed by his soldiers.
The causes of his murder were these : first of all, he
never permitted a soldier to be idle, for he built many
works by means of their labour, saying that a soldier
should eat no bread that was not earned. To this he
added another remark, hard for them, should it ever
come true, but beneficial to the commonwealth,
namely, that soon there would be no need of
soldiers. What had he in his mind when he made

a Temporarily abandoned in 280 ; see c. xviii. 1.



dicebat? nonne omnes barbaras gentes subegerat 1
pedibus totumque 2 mundum fecerat iam Romanum ?

6 " Brevi/' inquit, " milites necessaries non habebimus."
quid est aliud dicere : Romanus iam miles erit nullus ?
ubique regnabit, omnia possidebit 3 secura res publica.

6orbis terrarum non arma fabricabitur, non annonam
praebebit, boves 4 habebuntur aratro, equus nascetur
ad pacem, nulla erimt bella, nulla captivitas, ubique
pax, ubique Romanae leges, ubique iudices nostri.

XXI. Longius amore imperatoris optimi progredior
quam pedestris sermo desiderat. quare addam illud
quod praecipue tanto viro fatalem properavit necessi-

2tatem. nam cum Sirmium venisset ac solum patrium
effecundari cuperet et dilatari, ad siccandam quandam
paludem multa simul milia militum posuit, ingentem
parans fossam, qua deiectis in Savum 5 naribus loca

3 Sirmiensibus profutura siccaret. hoc permoti 6 milites
confugientem eum in turrem ferratam, quam ipse
speculae causa elatissimam exaedificaverat, intere-

4merunt anno imperii sui quinto. postea tamen ingens
ei sepulchrum elatis aggeribus omnes pariter milites

1 subegerat Editor (cf. c. xv. 2 ; xvii. 2) ; subierat P ; subie-
cerat 27, Peter, Hohl. 2 pedibus totumque 27, Peter 1 ; pedi-
busque totum P; penitusgue totnm Kellerbauer, Peter 2 , Hohl.
* possidebit Salm., Peter ; possidebimus P, 27. 4 b^ues Salm. ;
uobis P. 6 Sauum Gloss, Peter ; saltum P. 6 so 27,

Petschenig, Hohl; hoc permoti P ; hac re moti Salm., Peter.

1 The same account of his death is given in Aur. Victor, Caes.,
37, 4 and Eutropius, ix. 17,2 ; on the other hand, Zosimus (i.7i,
4-5) and Zonaras (xii. 29) relate that after the departure of Probus
the armies of Raetia and Noricum forced their commander,
Carus, to assume the purple. The troops sent by Probus to
quell the uprising joined the revolt, and when the remainder of
Probus' force learned of this they killed the Emperor. This



this remark ? Had he not put down all barbarian
nations under his feet and made the whole universe
Roman? "Soon," he said, "we shall have no need
of soldiers." What else is this than saying: "Soon
there will not be a Roman soldier ? Everywhere the
commonwealth will reign and will rule all in safety.
The entire world will forge no arms and will furnish
no rations, the ox will be kept for the plough and the
horse be bred for peace, there will be no wars and no
captivity, in all places peace will reign, in all places
the laws of Rome, and in all places our judges."

XXI. But in my love for a most excellent emperor
I am proceeding further than a prosaic style requires.
Wherefore, I will add only that which, most of all,
hastened on for this great man his destined doom.
When he had come to Sirmium, desiring to enrich
and enlarge his native place, he set many thousand
soldiers together to draining a certain marsh, plan-
ning a great canal with outlets flowing into the Save,
and thus draining a region for the use of the people
of Sirmium. At this the soldiers rebelled, and pur-
suing him as lie fled to an iron-clad tower, which he
himself had reared to a very great height to serve as
a look-out, they slew him there in the fifth year of
his reign. 1 Afterwards, however, all the soldiers
together built him a mighty tomb on a lofty mound,

version, simpler and free from the laudatory tendencies of the
account given in the vita, seems more credible an attempt to
absolve Cams from the charge of treachery is made in Car.,
vi. 1. Probus' death took place after 29 Aug., 282, since there
are Alexandrian coins of his eighth year, which began on that
day. As he began to rule in the summer of 276, the five-year
reign allotted to him here is evidently too short ; the period of
six years and four months given by Zosimus is more nearly



fecerunt cum titulo huius modi inciso marmori : " Hie
Probus imperator et vere probus situs est, victor
omnium gentium barbararum, victor etiam tyran-

XXII. Conferenti mihi cum aliis imperatoribus prin-
cipem Probum omnibus prope Romanis ducibus, qua
fortes, qua l clementes, qua prudentes, qua mirabiles ex-
stiterunt, intellego hunc virum aut parem fuisse aut, si
2non repugnat invidia furiosa, meliorem. quinquennio
enim imperil sui per totum orbem terrarum tot bella
gessit, et quidem per se, ut mirabile sit quemadmodum

3 omnibus occurrerit proeliis. multa manu sua fecit,
duces praeclarissimos instituit. nam ex eius disciplina
Cams, Diocletianus, Constantius, Asclepiodotus, Han-
nibalianus, Leonides, Cecropius, Pisonianus, Heren-
nianus, Gaudiosus, Ursinianus et ceteri, quos patres
nostri m ; rati sunt et de quibus nonnulli boni principes

4 exstiterunt. conferat mine, cui placet, viginti Traiani
Hadrianique annos, conferat prope totidem Anto-
ninorum. nam quid de Augusto loquar, cuius imperil
annis 2 vix potest advivi? malos autem principes
taceo. ipsa vox Probi clarissima indicat quid se facere
potuisse speraret, qui dixit brevi necessarios milites

XXIII. non futures. ille vero coiiscius sui non barbaros

2timuit, non tyrannos. quae deinde felicitas emi-

cuisset, si sub illo principe milites non fuissent? an-

1 qua om. in P and by Hohl. 2 anni P.

1 Iulius Asclepiodotus (see also Aur., xliv. 2) and Afranius
Hannibalianus were consuls in 292 and prefects of the guard in
296 ; the former aided Constantius to suppress the revolt of
Allectus, and the latter was city-prefect in 297. Herennianus
is perhaps Verconnius Herennianus, Diocletian's prefect,



with an inscription carved on marble as follows :
" Here lies Probus, the Emperor, a man of probity
indeed, the conqueror of all barbarian nations, the
conqueror, too, of pretenders."

XXII. As for myself, when I compare Probus as
a ruler with other emperors, in whatever way almost
all Roman leaders have stood out as courageous, as
merciful, as wise, or as admirable, I perceive that he
was the equal of any, or indeed, if no insane jealousy
stands in the way, better than all. For during his
five years' rule he waged so many wars through the
whole of earth's circle, all of them, too, unaided, that
we can only marvel how he faced all the battles. He
did many deeds with his own hand and trained most
illustrious generals. For from his training came
Cams, Diocletian, Constantius, Asclepiodotus, 1 Han-
iiibalianus, Leonides, Cecropius, Pisonianus, Hereii-
nianus, Gaudiosus, Ursinianus, and all the others
whom our fathers admired and from whom many
good princes arose. Let him now, who will, compare
the twenty years of Trajan or Hadrian, let him com-
pare the years of the Antonines, nearly equal in
number. For why should I mention Augustus, the
years of whose reign all but exceeded the life of
a man ? Of the evil princes, moreover, I will keep
silent. That most famous remark of Probus itself
reveals what he hoped to have brought about, for he
said that soon there would be no need of soldiers.
XXIII. He, truly conscious of his powers, stood in
fear of neither barbarian nor pretender. What great
bliss would then have shone forth, if under his ride
there had ceased to be soldiers ! No rations would

mentioned in Aur., xliv. 2. Leonides and those who follow are


nonam provincialis claret nullus, stipendia de largitioni-
bus nulla erogarentur, aeternos thesauros haberet
Romana res publica, nihil expenderetur a principe,
nihil a possessore redderetur ; aureum profecto saecu-

3 lum promittebat. nulla futura erant castra, nusquam
lituus audiendus, arma non erant fabricanda. populus
iste militantium, qui nunc bellis civilibus rem publicam
vexat, araret, studiis incumberet, erudiretur artibus,
navigaret. adde quod nullus occideretur in bello.

4 di boni, quid tantuni vos offendit Romana res publica,
5cui talem principem sustulistis? eant nunc, qui ad

civilia bella milites parant, in germanorura necera
arment dexteras fratrum, hortentur in patrum vulnera
liberos et divinitatem Probo derogent, quam impe-
ratores nostri prudenter et consecrandam vultibus et
ornandam templis et 1 celebrandam ludis circensibus

XXIV. Posteri Probi vel odio vel invidiae timore

Romanam rem fugerunt et in Italia circa Veronam ac

Benacum et Larium atque in his regionibus larem

2locaverunt. sane quod praeterire non potui, cum

imago Probi in Veroneiisi sita fulmine icta 2 esset ita

1 et 27 ; om. in P. 2 iecta P.

1 He was eventually deified ; for he is called Divus Probus
in the Panegyric addressed to Constantius, c. 18, and in the list
of the emperor's birthdays (C.I.L., i. 2 p. 255).

2 See note to Tyr. Trig., xiv. 3. The Acta Sanctorum and
the chronicler Nicephorus (i. p. 773) list, the former Probus'
son Dometius, the latter his brother Dometius and two nephews,
among the Patriarchs of Const mtinople ; but the correctness
of such statements is very doubtful. The prominence in the
fourth century of a family which supplied four consuls, Petron-
ius Probianus (cos. 322), Petronius Probinus (cos. 341), Sex.
Petronius Probus (cos. 371), and Anicius Probinus (cos. 395),



now be furnished by any provincial, no pay for the
troops taken out of the public largesses, the common-
wealth of Rome would keep its treasures forever, no
payments would be made by the prince, no tax re-
quired of the holder of land ; it was in very truth
a golden age that he promised. There would be no
camps, nowhere should we have to hear the blast of
the trumpet, nowhere fashion arms. That throng of
fighting-men, which now harries the commonwealth
with civil wars, would be at the plough, would be
busy with study, or learning the arts, or sailing the
seas. Add to this, too, that none would be slain in
war. O ye gracious gods, what mighty offence in
your eyes has the Roman commonwealth committed,
that ye should have taken from it so noble a prince ?
Now away with those who make ready soldiers for
civil strife, who arm the hands of brothers to slay
their brothers, who cah 1 on sons to wound their fathers,
and who deny to Probus the divinity l which our
emperors have wisely deemed should be immortalised
by likenesses, honoured by temples, and celebrated by
spectacles in the circus !

XXIV. The descendants of Probus, 2 moved either
by hate or by fear of jealousy, fled from the region of
Rome, and established their household gods in Italy
near Verona and the Lakes Benacus and Larius 3 and
in all that district. I cannot indeed leave unmen-
tioned that when a portrait of Probus in the region of
Verona was struck by lightning in such a fashion that

suggested to Dessau that the present chapter was written in
their honour at the end of that century (see Vol. ii. Intro.,
p. ix.), but as Dannhauser (op. cit., p. 90) has pointed out, this
seems to be refuted by the statement in 3.
8 Lakes Garda and Como.



ut eius praetexta colores mutaret, haruspices respon-

Online LibraryGrolier ClubThe Scriptores historiae augustae with an English translation (Volume 3) → online text (page 26 of 42)